Bigger is Not Better

I didn't grow up around live music. I was 10 when my dad took me to see the Beach Boys (Kokomo tour) at the Meadowlands in the late 80's. Less than ten years later I'd go to Philly's oversized venues with my metal-head loving then-best friend to see Aerosmith (a couple of times), Smashing Pumpkins, and the Horde Tour.

Even though stadium shows were the only kind of performances this naive, suburban youth had previously been exposed to, they never felt quite right and always left me musically-unsatisfied. Of course, my tastes have changed since then, although not entirely.

This weekend I saw Glen Phillips, formerly of Toad the Wet Sprocket - a band I've loved since junior high. The venue was The Hideaway Cafe in St. Pete, a listening room (and recording studio) that seats less people than the smallest theater in a cineplex. (My recent WMNF interview with Phillips can be found here.)

Last week I wrote a story on house concerts for the St. Petersburg Times - no place like home for music. Small venues like the Hideaway are the next tier up: no drunken bar scene or people talking over the music, just an intimate setting with people who come out simply to listen. There are few such commercial places in Tampa Bay where poet/musicians can literally be heard.

Vienna Teng followed Phillips with an amazing set.

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